Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Employment Law Blog Carnival: The “Wreck of the Old 97” Edition #ELBC

On September 27, 1903, the Old 97, a Southern Railway mail train running between Washington DC and Atlanta, Georgia, derailed near Danville, Virginia. The wreck inspired a famous ballad (most famously covered by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams III), which, in turn, inspired the Old 97’s to name their band some 70 years later.

I’m not shy with my love for the Old 97’s. Part of my adoration stems from how great their music is. And it’s not just the jangly vibe that kills on an album, or in a bar, or in a concert hall. Rhett Miller writes some of the best lyrics you will ever find, with most songs focusing on love, heartache, booze, or some combination of the three. The rest of my love stems from how cool they’ve been to my daughter, Norah (here and here).

Regardless the reason, my favorite band gets billing as the honoree of this month’s Employment Law Blog Carnival, as we look at the month’s best blog posts through the swarthy lens of some of the Old 97’s best songs.

This is the story of Victoria Lee
She started off on Percodan and ended up with me
She lived in Berkeley ’til the earthquake shook her loose
She lives in Texas now where nothin’ ever moves

Poor Victoria Lee had a rough go of it. Narcotics and one-night stands. What if your corporate wellness program reveals an employee like Victoria. Employment Essentials has some suggestions, in The EEOC Asks: Is Your Corporate Wellness Program Really Voluntary?

The New Kid
The new kid, he’s got money
The money I deserve
He’s got the goods
But he’s not good for his word

This song hold a real special place in my heart (see above, about my daughter). When you hire a new employee, do you know how to handle trade secrets and restrictive covenants? Jesse R. Dill at Walcheske & Luzi, in Wisconsin Supreme Court Adds New Twist to Restrictive Covenant Law, and Heather Bussing at HR Examiner, in People Are Not Trade Secrets, offer some suggestions.

Over the Cliff
Please don’t call me cool just call me, “A⌇⌇hole”
’Cause I will be a beggar not a king
And the devil don’t care if you’re a fish or you’re a stick
Yeah, I’m goin’ over the cliff

Has the NFL gone over the cliff with Deflategate? Did the league screw the pooch by choosing the wrong investigator? Lorene Schaefer’s Win-Win HR, in Given the Stakes, Should the NFL Have Selected a Different Investigator in Deflategate?, has some thoughts on what Roger Goodell should have done.

Wish the Worst
I hope you crash your momma’s car
I hope you pass out in some bar
I hope you catch some kinda flu
Let’s say I wish the worst for you

Crashed cars and the flu are certainly bad. The Mad Pooper, though, is clearly worse, says Eric Meyer’s Employer Handbook Blog, in Well, that stinks! Doo-doo creates a discrimination claim.

Four Leaf Clover
I got a lucky silver dollar
My granddad gave it to me now he’s dead
Times like this I wish that I could join him
Might just stop this pounding in my head

How lucky will franchisors feel when the NLRB finally clarifies its stance on joint employers? Phil Miles’s Lawffice Space shares NLRB GC on Joint Employers.

Every Night Is Friday Night [Without You]
Now I’m no saint
But I ain’t such a freak
On the days of the week
I work hard, hard

If an employee works hard, but feels he or she is getting the short end of the pay stick, will the FLSA cover their oral complaints? Doug Hass’s Wage & Hour Insights offers Second Circuit Extends FLSA Anti-Retaliation Provision to More Oral Complaints.

Eighteen-hundred miles from this old niteclub
A girl is turning twenty-two today
How am I supposed to entertain you?
My fingertips are worthless when my mind’s so far away

Long distance relationships certainly present their problems. What about remote employees? Read 6th Circuit Holds That Regular and Predictable On-Site Job Attendance is an Essential Function via Randy Enochs’s Wisconsin Employment & Labor Law Blog

Some day somebody’s gonna ask you
A question that you should say yes to
Once in your life
Maybe tonight I’ve got a question for you

“Question” might be (is?) the most romantic song ever written. Meanwhile, John Holmquist, at his Michigan Employment Law Connection, warns about another (much less romantic) question, Arbitration … be careful what you ask for, while Donna Ballman, at her aptly titled Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home, asks, What Did The Florida Legislature Do For Employees? Diddly squat, with one silly exception.

Let’s Get Drunk & Get It On
Take you to a cheap hotel out on the interstate
Well you look so great to me
This is the perfect place for a rendezvous
Its got a rotten view but the ice is free
Let’s drink whiskey and do it
all night long
Let’s get drunk
and get it on

Believe it or not, “Let’s Get Drunk…” is also a romantic song; don’t let the catchy title fool you. Be careful about getting it on at work, warns Dan Schwartz, at his Connecticut Employment Law Blog, in 3 Mind-Blowing Tips For Employers About Sexual Harassment From Cosmo.

Murder (Or A Heart Attack)
And I told the neighbors, I put pictures up
And handed out some flyers at the show
And the whole town speculating
Situations could’ve been avoided if I’d only shut the window

One of the band’s biggest hits tells the story of a lost cat that escapes through an open window. You can imagine the investigation that followed to bring the kitty home. “What about investigations at work,” you say? I have you covered, via Ari Rosenstein’s Small Biz HR Blog, in Conducting Effective (and Legal!) Workplace Investigations, and Stuart Rudner at Rudner McDonald, in Employees: Honesty in the Course of a Workplace Investigation Pays Off.

When I first met Doreen
She was barely seventeen
She was drinking whiskey sours in the bar

Sex with a minor at work? Check. What if it happens only once? Did the 4th Circuit’s recent decision spell certain doom for employers? Robert Fitzpatrick on Employment Law provides a nice summary, in Fourth Circuit Overturns Decade of Precedent in Blockbuster En Banc Hostile Work Environment Decision, while Robin Shea’s Employment & Labor Insider, in Is this new harassment decision the end of the world for employers?, thinks the reaction to this decision is way overblown.

I got a timebomb in my mind Mom
I hear it ticking but I don’t know why
I call the police but they don’t like me
I hear ‘em whispering when I walk by

This month’s carnival ends the same way every Old 97’s show ends, with the raucous riffs of Timebomb, from 1997’s Too Far to Care. If you have a timebomb in your workplace, I bet the FMLA has something to do with it. Janette Levey Frisch’s The EmpLAWyerologist suggests how to handle an employee abusing FMLA, in Is Your Employee Abusing Her FMLA Leave?

Philip Miles, author of Lawffice Space and all around good guy, will host next month’s Employment Law Blog Carnival, on June 17. If you want to participate, email Phil a link to your employment-law-related blog post by June 12.

Because I hosted this month’s Carnival, WIRTW will not run this Friday, and will return with to its regularly featured slot next Friday, with edition #368.